Michigan makes a pretty amazing vacation spot. Cities like Detroit are always fun to visit, but the small, lakeshores towns are what make the state so special. Marquette is the perfect example of a quaint beachy settlement that makes for an awesome getaway. You get beaches, waterfalls, islands, and lighthouses, along with tons of museums, attractions, restaurants and cultural hotspots. It's the best of both worlds and the ridiculously quaint atmosphere will have you falling in love with Pure Michigan.
Start off at the shore at Presque Isle Park. The whole thing is 323 acres of mostly untouched wilderness. Dense forests of birch, maple, ironwood, white pine and hemlock shade most of the park, while the shoreline boasts some of the oldest exposed rock formations in the country. There's a picnic area, bandshell, trails, and a marina, which means that whether you're into hiking, biking, skiing, or paddling, this is a picture-perfect stop.
300 North Lakeshore Blvd PO Box 1096 Marquette, MI 49855, Marquette, MI, US
Lighthouses are iconic to the shores of Michigan, so you can't take a trip here without visiting one. Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is an adorable example. The red, two-story building was originally built in 1866, and is the oldest structure in town. It's played an important role Marquette's history, guiding ships and adding to the crucial Great Lakes iron ore industry. You can tour it today with a guide, and take in the amazing views of Lake Superior from the coast.
For a special slice of European glamor in Marquette, stay at the Landmark Inn. It opened as the Northland Hotel in the 1930s, and it played host to some famous guests, like Amelia Earhart (who reportedly haunts the hotel) Louis Armstrong and even the Rolling Stones. It's been refurbished, but still maintains the Jazz Age opulence it was created to have; rooms might feature fireplaces, claw-foot soaking tubs, or sweeping views of the lake. Make a point to grab a drink at the North Star Lounge, which offers sweeping views of Marquette.
The Vierling is Marquette's staple eatery. The first Vierling opened in the 1860s, a nice saloon where the men of Marquette could enjoy a drink and some conversation. They even opened a lounge where ladies could come enjoy themselves as well, but Prohibition shuttered the establishment in 1917. In the 1980s, The Vierling was brought back to life, complete with oil paintings from the original collection. They've been a craft brewery since 1995, brewing up fresh and delicious ales. The menu features a lot of local fare, like whitefish, along with steaks, salads, pasta, sandwiches, and more.
Located in a history 19th-century building, Ore Dock Brewing Company reflects the flavor and history of Marquette. Their beers are perfect easy drinkers, with something for everyone. Saisons, IPAs, ambers, wheats, and more rotate on tap. They also have plenty of events and live music, and feature pieces from local artists on display. Take a tour of their brewing operation before sitting down to sample as much as you can!
For over 100 years, the iron industry has been a major part of this part of Michigan, and you can learn all about its past, its present, and its future at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum. View artifacts and exhibits dedicated to the rich history of the region (and since this is Michigan, you'll get to see rare Fords like a 1929 Ford Model A Sports Coupe and a 1941 Ford Model JP). There's also a nice path outside that connects the museum to the Michigan Iron Ore Heritage Trail.
Of course, whether you'd rather be camping, or shopping, or out on the water, Marquette is just as perfect. There are waterfalls for discovering, mountains for climbing, boutiques for shopping, museums for exploring... the reasons to visit are pretty much endless.